Thursday, 31 July 2008

BTT - Endings


I had a couple of people (Readerville and Nithin) leave me suggestions in response to last week’s post on Beginnings, but this one was already on its way! I mean, it was the obvious next question….

What are your favourite final sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its last sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the last line?




Having just finished the third book in Diana Peterfreund's Ivy League series Rites of Spring (Break). I was thrilled with the last line:

"I'm really sick of secrets."

If you've read it you'll know why. If not go read them they're great.

Otherwise I tihnk it is scenes more than the actual last words that stay with me from books, like the last scene in the The Amber Spyglass (broke my heart). Unless, of course, they are so famous I've heard them over and over like Gone with the Wind.






Monday, 28 July 2008

Breaking Dawn





Breaking Dawn spoiler in case any of you fans missed it. Only a tiny one I guess to keep the excitement flowing! I know what I'll be doing this weekend!

Strong Female Characters

I was reading Newsweek this weekend and in an article about Anne of Green Gables I read this:


That "Anne" has survived so long—and, with 50 million copies sold, so strong—is a small miracle considering the state of young-adult literature. It's rare to find a best seller with a strong heroine anymore, in large part because, although girls will read books about boys, boys won't go near a girl's book, no matter how cool she is. Even in Stephenie Meyer's "Twilight" series, the strong, grounded Bella is willing to chuck it all for the love of her vampire boyfriend. "The literary smart girl is still showing up in literature, but she's often the sidekick," says Trinna Frever, an "Anne of Green Gables" scholar.

Now I am new to the world of YA fiction but I can already think of lots of smart, strong girls in fiction.

Lyra in His Dark Materials - she saves the worlds

Frankie in The Disreputable History - infiltrates and takes over a secret boys society

Miranda in Life as we knew it - survives a near apocalypse and saves her family

Suze in The Mediator books - kicks ass, a lot!

Amy in Secret Society Girl - says what she thinks and is not intimidated by a centuries old all male society or anyone (as far as I can tell. so far)

So what do you think does Newsweek know what it's talking about? Can you name more strong female characters in Young Adult fiction?

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Sunday Salon - How to be bad and Weekly Geeks

I am trying to kick my review butt into gear by taking part in Weekly Geeks this week. Becky of Becky's Book Reviews asked me these questions about How to Be Bad?

How did you like How To Be Bad?
Very much
Is it something you'd recommend?
If you like young adult fiction about friendship and finding out who you really are then yes.
Is it a novel or a set of stories?

A novel

Thanks Becky for getting my ball rolling!

How to be bad - E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle.

Rating 5/5

I was undecided about How to be Bad. I love E Lockhart's but hadn't read the other two authors and three authors? I really didn't think they could pull that off. Luckily the nice people at Harper Collins solved my problem and sent me a free copy and I'm so glad they did.

How to be bad follows Jesse, Mel and Vicks when they take off on a Florida road trip one weekend. Each authors writes a chapter from the perspective of a different girl but the story keeps moving forward and it works, really well. I never wanted to skip over chapters to get to my favourite character they were all good, with strong voices.

During the trip the girls change, bond and learn about friendship, trust, God, relationships and growing up. The comments and observations on these topics all feel a natural part of the story and the characters growth, they never feel shoe horned in.

I highly recommend it. It's funny and insightful and will make you want to go on a road trip.

Some favourite quotes:

"But it felt good both getting the anger out-and knowing how much my forgiveness mattered. How much I mattered."

"I wonder if you can know something about yourself and not know it at the same time. I wonder if everyone has secret fears and not just me."

"It's great that you believe so strongly in God but I feel like sometimes you worry about the wrong things, like what's pure and who's a virgin and what the rules are for being Christian or Jewish or whatever . . . isn't it possible that God is bigger than all that?"


If you've reviewed How to be Bad to link below, thanks.

Sunday Salon - The Book Thief

Thanks to Becky of Becky's Book Reviews and Julie of Bookworm for the questions that got me thinking and reviewing The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Did you enjoy The Book Thief?

Yes I absolutely loved it. It is one of my favourite books of 2008. A 5 out of 5.

Did you think it lived up to its hype?

Yes, definitely it is unique and innovative. I've read quite a lot of book about WW2 but nothing like this before. A very fresh angle.

Who would you recommend it to?

It's one of those books that I am running round saying to everyone I know "you MUST read this."

Do you see it more as a YA or an adult book?

I thought this had more of an adult feel than the other YA books I've read. I think that was to do with the style. YA books usually have a very engaging main character. Where as having Death as the narrator removed the reader slightly from Liesel.

Who was your favourite character?

Rudy without a doubt.
I loved all the characters they are vibrant and leap off the page straight into your heart. Liesel, the book thief of the title, her foster parents Hans and Rose Hubermann and Max, the Jew hiding in the basement. Rudy was special though one of those characters I'll remember for a long time.

Were there any parts that made you cry?

Oh yes! I was reading the end flying back to DC and I think my fellow passengers thought I was slightly crazy as I sat sniffling away.

One thing that stood out for me in that book was all the figurative language. What did you think of the writing style?

Four pages into this book I turned to my husband and said "I don't think I am going to like this book, I think it's going to be really pretentious". I found the writing style really difficult at first and then about twenty pages in it just clicked for me and I loved it.

If you've reviews The Book Thief please link in My Linky I'd love to know what you thought.

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Beginnings


Suggested by: Nithin

Here’s another idea about memorable first lines from books.

What are your favourite first sentences from books? Is there a book that you liked specially because of its first sentence? Or a book, perhaps that you didn’t like but still remember simply because of the first line?


Don’t forget to leave a link to your actual response (so people don’t have to go searching for it) in the comments—or if you prefer, leave your answers in the comments themselves!


Great question! I started recording the first lines of books I read this year just out of interest. One of my all times favourite first lines is the very famous -


It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Out of the books I've read this year my favourites are:


The day she would try and kill herself, she would realise winter was coming again.
After You'd Gone - Maggie O'farrrel


"Though not, in hindsight, so startling as the misdeeds she would perpetrate when she returned to boarding school as a sophomore, what happened to Frankie Landau-Banks the summer after her freshman year was a shock.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landu-Banks - E.Lockhart


My Mother is a wrench"
Scrambled Eggs at Midnight - Brad Barkley and Heather Hepler


They're all intriguing and instantly make questions form in your head, which is the point of a good first line.




Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Weekly Geeks 12 Questions



I haven't played Weekly Geeks for a while because I've been lazy and busy but as this weeks task should help me catch up with reviews I am in.

Here's what we had to do

1. In your blog, list any books you’ve read but haven’t reviewed yet. If you’re all caught up on reviews, maybe you could try this with whatever book(s) you finish this week. 2. Ask your readers to ask you questions about any of the books they want. In your comments, not in their blogs. Most likely, people who will ask you questions will be people who have read one of the books or know something about it because they want to read it. 3. Later, take whichever questions you like from your comments and use them in a post about each book. I’ll probably turn mine into a sort of interview-review. Link to each blogger next to that blogger’s question(s). 4. Visit other Weekly Geeks and ask them some questions!

These are the books waiting to be reviewed

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Falling for you - Jill Mansell

How to be bad - E. Lockhart, Sarah Mlynowski, Lauren Myracle

The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Rachel's Holiday - Marian Keyes

The Mediator Book (2-6) - Meg Cabot

So ask away.


If you want to join in with Weekly Geeks go sign up at The Hidden Side of the Leaf

Friday, 18 July 2008

New Twilight Trailer






Yes I am obsessed with this movie and no I doubt it will live up to the book but for now I am enjoying the anticipation.

Vacations



Another question inspired by the Bunch of Grapes on Martha’s Vineyard having burned down on the Fourth of July.

Do you buy books while on vacation/holiday?

Do you have favorite bookstores that you only get to visit while away on a trip?

What/Where are they?

I’m still devastated about the Bunch of Grapes, even though I usually only got to visit it once or twice a year–it was such a vital part of my trips to Martha’s Vineyard. Its (hopefully temporary) loss won’t affect my day-to-day book habits, but it was such a wonderful store on one of my favorite places. Stopping there was such a strong tradition, and I’m going to miss it as part of my vacations. But it made me think–I always buy books when I’m away from home. They’re as much of a trip-souvenir as any t-shirt or trinket. Better, even! And it occurs to me that I can’t be the only one of us who does that, huh?


I don't, I tend to take all my books with me, upping the weight of my luggage considerably.

Not really but when I go home I always rush to Waterstone's and Books Etc in London. They aren't any better than Barnes and Noble and Borders they are just familiar. Although they do often do 3 for 2 offers which i think B&N should consider! I also check out Tesco and Asda as they have amazing deals on books.


Tuesday, 15 July 2008

May and June Books

Didn't read much the last two months but what I did read was excellent. Looking for Alaska's first line is my favourite. Lots of information and of course the ominous one hundred and thirty-six days before sub heading.

Life as we knew it - Susan Beth Pfeffer
Lisa is pregnant.

Looking for Alaska - John Green

One hundred thirty-six days before.
The week before I left my family and Florida and the rest of my minor life to go to boarding school in Alabama, my mother insisted on throwing me a going-away party.

The truth about forever - Sarah Dessen

Jason was going to Brain camp.
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my head ever since.

Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones

Everyone called him Pop-eye.

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

First the colors.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

The truth about Forever



The Truth about Forever - Sarah Dessen

Rating 5/5

After the death of her father Macy retreats from everything that reminds her of him, including her running, and struggles to be perfect. Then the summer comes and her boyfriend Jason, the one person who makes her feel safe, leaves for Brain camp. Macy is stuck with a job at the library with girls who make her feel far from perfect. Meanwhile her Mom is working herself into the ground to try and forget her own grief. It looks like its going to be a long hard summer.

Then Macy meets the gang at Wish Catering Company, scatty disorganised Delia, fun loving, clothes obsessed Kristy and her silent sister Monica. Bert who is watching out for the end of the world and artistic, swoon worthy Wes. Suddenly the summer starts looking up.

This is a wonderful book Macy's pain and struggle with her grief are so realistically and beautifully portrayed, you really feel for her. The simple story of finding yourself is brought alive by the writing and the interesting, well rounded secondary characters.

The book deals with how we react to loss and pain, how we move on and become stronger or hide from it and grow weak. I liked the contrast between Kristy's reaction to her outward scars, caused by a car accident and Macy's reaction to her inner scars. There is also a contrast between Macy's Mom's grief, she clears out the house of reminders and Delia's grief for her sister, she won't fill in a pot hole because she thinks there's a reason it's there. Kristy and Delia face their pain head on, they incorporate it into their lives and make it part of them so it doesn't destroy them. Macy and her Mom are running from their grief and you can see how unhappy and uptight it makes them.

There is also Wes, possibly one of my favourite characters ever, it's hard not to love a gorgeous, sensitive, bad boy turned good who fashions angels and hearts out of junk. His game of truth with Macy which runs throughout the book is a great device for revealing their past, hopes, fears and dreams. Wes isn't in to perfection, he likes flaws and he shows Macy that being "perfect" isn't something to aspire too.

I devoured this book and the end was perfect without being overly sentimental.

If you've read and reviewed the book please link up with Mr Linky I'd love to read your review.

Sunday Salon - Half Year Favourites and books to review

Books on the nightstand, a blog/podcast I am loving did a post about half year favourites, so I thought I'd copy and do one here. My favourite books of 2008 so far are:

The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox - Maggie O'Farrel

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Bank - E. Lockhart

The Truth about Forever - Sarah Dessen

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

The Secret History - Donna Tartt

Mister Pip - Lloyd Jones

Twilight - Stephanie Meyer

If I had to pick my absolutely favourite read this year so far I think it would be a tie between Twilight and Esme Lennox.

What have been your favourite books this year, so far?

I've been away on holidays so I have a pile of books to review so check back in the week. I am also whizzing through Meg Cabot's Mediator series and loving it, it is so fast paced and funny.

Have a great Sunday.

Friday, 11 July 2008

What were they thinking?


Yuck! I really hope the person who styled this was NOT involved with the movie as they have obviously never read the book. Edward looks really creepy.

Thursday, 10 July 2008

The Mediator - Reviewed

The Mediator - Meg Cabot

4/5

When Suze's Mum gets remarried it means relocating from New York to California, gaining a step father and three step brothers; Sleepy, Doppy and Doc and starting at a new Catholic school.

But none of those things are a big deal compared to Jesse, the very cute ghost haunting Suse's bedroom.

Only Suze can see him, as she is a mediator. A link between the living and the dead charged with helping the recently deceased move on. Suze does this anyway she can even if it means getting physical about it. Although she's not that sure she wants Jesse to move on.

Things get complicated when another ghost arrives in the form of psychotic and murderess Heather who plans to take a few people with her to the next life. With the help of Jesse, her new brothers, Father Dom and friends Cee-cee and Adam, Suze sets out to get rid of Heather and fit in at her new school.

I really loved this book. It was funny and fast paced. Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets Stephanie Plum. Suze is a great main character and the supporting cast, particularly gorgeous Jesse and entertaining Adam are engaging too.

It's a series and I already have the next two on order.

Doomsday




One of my favorite bookstores burned down last weekend, and while I only got to visit there while I was on vacation, it made me stop and think.

What would you do if, all of a sudden, your favorite source of books was unavailable?

Whether it’s a local book shop, your town library, or an internet shop … what would you do if, suddenly, they were out of business? Devastatingly, and with no warning? Where would you go for books instead? What would you do? If it was a local business you would try to help out the owners? Would you just calmly start buying from some other store? Visit the library in the next town instead? Would it be devastating? Or just a blip in your reading habit?


I buy most of my books from Amazon after I've wandered round Barnes and Noble and decided what I want.

As both our big businesses I don't think I'd be that upset if they burned down. While I like the B&N I visit for it's location there are several others round the city that I could go to.


I wish I did have a little local bookshop where I knew the people and could talk about purchases and maybe have a coffee but I don't. It seems it's all big impersonal shops round me.

Thursday, 3 July 2008

Holidays

It’s a holiday weekend here in the U.S., so let’s keep today’s question simple–What are you reading? Anything special? Any particularly juicy summer reading?

I just finished The Book Thief by Markus Suzak which I absolutely loved and I think will stay with me for a long time. Especially Rudy who is one of those characters who just gets in your head.

I'm now reading How to be bad by Lauren Myracle, E. Lockhart, and Sarah Mlynowski. So far I really like it. I was a bit worried as with books written by more than one person I always find myself favouring one author and longing for their chapters. So far though, I really like Mel, Jesse and Vicks.

Enjoy your holiday reading and happy 4th July!

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